Allen Iverson last played in an NBA game in February 2010, when he scored 13 points for the Sixers in a 122-90 loss to the Bulls in Chicago.
But eight-and-a-half years later, Reebok is still paying him $800,000 a year, as it has been since they signed "The Answer" to a lifetime contract. And last week, Reebok CEO Matt O'Toole said the company thought it was still worth it.
"He has a place in our heritage, and there is a group of consumers who want to connect to that," O'Toole said on the Bloomberg Business of Sport podcast. "He's relevant for a lot of our consumers."
Iverson quickly received a 10-year, $50 million contract from Reebok when the Sixers made him the first overall pick in the 1996 draft. The company then released the Reebok Question, which the guard wore en route to winning rookie of the year honors for the 1996-97 season.
When Iverson led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals and was named league MVP, Reebok signed him to a lifetime deal. In addition to the $800,000 the former guard receives annually, the contract famously includes a trust fund worth $32 million that Iverson can't touch until 2030, when he turns 55. It's been reported that when he can access it, he'll only get half as part of a divorce settlement with his ex-wife Tawanna.
The company sent Iverson to Asia last year, and O'Toole said they're sending him overseas next month.
"He's an iconic personality," O'Toole said. "Let's get on a plane to Shanghai together. You bring Allen Iverson into a market like that. I'll stand firmly that he has a big place in basketball and sports history."
Iverson was slated to return to the court in Philly last summer — not with the Sixers, but as part of the BIG3 League's appearance at the Wells Fargo Center. But Iverson abruptly backed out right before he was set to play (he coached instead) and was booed while standing courtside.